WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Rai retreat for WYD pilgrims

February 23 saw World Youth Day pilgrims from Nelson parishes, Blenheim and anywhere in between come together in Rai Valley for a retreat. We listened to part Apr08WYDNelson515.jpg of the pope’s message and were able to come to an understanding of what it means to be going to World Youth Day in Sydney 2008. We shared ideas and learnt about what it means to be a pilgrim. We discovered many amazing people in our lives that we just assumed were ‘average’.
After a shared afternoon tea we headed off to the Pelorus River for a swim. The mozzies were out and so was the fragrant insect repellent made from disinfectant and water. There was a swift current but it was no match for the swimmers. There were people diving off the small rocks as well as some brave souls doing cannon balls and coffins off the tall rocks which, I have to admit, were pretty far away from the river’s edge. The splash zone was huge and anyone in the vicinity of the water’s edge was wet in an instant.
After a long swim in the river, the men fired up the barbecue and we all shared a meal. Over dinner, pilgrims from the entire Nelson/Blenheim area were chatting and getting to know one another and sharing their stories from the river and other times. After dinner we all celebrated Kevin McKenzie’s birthday with cake.
After a reflection where we were able to listen to and appreciate God’s creation, Father David Dowling from Blenheim led us in reconciliation by candlelight, with cicadas chanting in the background.
We then checked out the glow-worms in the bush, and some people made their way home while others went to Blenheim for a sleep over.
All in all a great time was shared by the pilgrims and the many leaders who are making this pilgrimage possible. We continue to prepare for the pilgrimage to Sydney in July this year,  to celebrate World Youth Day!